Kennywood - My Life Changing Experience

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Robodud's avatar

Amusement parks all have their own atmosphere and character. Kennywood is one park that stands out on its own. When I told fellow CBer's Dan and STChick that Kristin (KicksTheSky) and I were going to Kennywood for the first time, they both said it's a life changing experience and we'll never look at other amusement parks the same again. Boy were they dead on!

Kennywood had the perfect mixture of old and new throughout the park to make it an ideal atmosphere for the whole family. The classic music of the carousel, the laughing guests, and clickity clack of the rollercoasters, all greet you as you walked into the park. Landscaping is one thing not overlooked, the fountains were the most beautiful that I've ever seen and everything was prefectly trimmed. The smell of those fries permeated the air and the perfect weather both made it a day we'll never forget.

While waiting for the rides to open Kristin and I walked around the park and marvelled at the unique flat rides and the old rollercoasters in the park's collection. The Swingin' Around, the classic Carousel, Kangaroo, and the Bayern Kurve all caught our attention as we strolled through the park. The old looking Jack Rabbit, and Racer stood idle, waiting for guests to challenge it as it had years before. We decided that our first ride of the day would be Phantom's Revenge...

What is there not to say about PR? It's beautiful, elegant, classic-looking, and it was ready for KicksTheSky and Robodud to ride. Taking a seat in 4-2 we noticed the roomy cars and the unique lapbars. After a quick check of harnesess, we were off, travelling slowly up the first lift with the distinct Arrow-sounding lift. Then we zoomed through the first drop and sent sky high over the second hill. The second drop was insane! And the airtime was abundant throughout this smooth, fast-paced, ride. It was so great, we just had to ride it again, this time in the back. I found myself out of my seat the whole ride, and sometimes in the seat in front of me. The double-down pasted me all over the seat in front of me and the air hops were just absolutely beautiful. This is a must ride for anyone that has a craving for airtime.

Next door to PR was Thunderbolt. This kiddy-looking wooden ride seemed to be a fun little joyride. First impressions aren't everything though. From the start of the ride you drop into the same ravine that Phantoms's Revenge drops into, coming inches away from PR. Next is a nice hop at the top and then a turnaround to the lift, not before another big drop into the ravine. The lift has it's own sound of it's own, kind of like driving over broken glass. The rest of the circuit threw you into the sides of the train with it's intense lateral G's and then popped you out of your seat with it's hops. One surprising thing about T-Bolt is the single position lapbar, and the bench that you sit on for the ride. That's right! NO STAPLING! After another spin on T-bolt, we headed over to the John Miller classic, Jack Rabbit.

From the first look of Jack Rabbit, I thought once again another kiddy ride. After the first ride on the Rabbit, it seems that Kennywood doesn't know how to build a kiddy ride. Getting into the train was embarassing since I tried all my might to pull up the lapbar. I realized that after all the pulling that the bar doen't move and you slide into your seat. Next was the primitive leather strap that went around you and your partner and away we went. Just like T-bolt the ride plummets into a ravine and back up into a tunnel, after taking another drop you begin ascending the lift hill of the oldest coaster in the park. After a slow turn around, a double down greeted us with the most airtime I've ever experienced. In seat 3-1 Kristin and I were so far out of our seats that the leather strap was around our knees! Another big drop after a turn around, the ride ended with a roar on new magnetic brakes. Of course, being the airtime junkies we are, Kristin and I had to do that again...

After being blown away by Jack Rabbit, we headed next door to the Racer. The Racer had a unique entrance, replicated from the 1927 opening, the ride looked just as it did in the old picture of the ride when it first opened to thrill its guests. Although I expected more air on this ride I was still impressed with the ride. It was even a bigger surprise to learn that I rode one of three remaining moebuis coasters in existence. How did I realize this? I ended up on the opposite side of the ride from where I first started.

The Exterminator was a ride all on its own. A dark ride, well hidden from guests we were taken on a fun journey of exterminating pests. The surprise here, were the spinning cars after the midcourse. Even though I'm not a fan of spinning rides, it was comfortable for me and I really enjoyed this one of a kind dark ride.

After spending all morning riding roller coasters, Kristin and I had to get some lunch. We ate at the Carousel Restaurant and got the best Chicken Strips and Fries we've every had. If that wasn't enough to make you salivate, the price certainly will. We got more food than a typical sitdown restaurant and spent less than $15 for it! It was certainly a great deal for the best fries on earth.

No trip is complete unless you ride the Carousel. Climbing aboard this 1927 classic, it makes you wonder how the hand carved horses and ornaments survived over 7 decades of guests and weather. The music took you back into your own Roller Coaster Tycoon world, and relaxed you with the sights and sounds of the park.

We also hit the classic flat rides in the park including, the Whip, Swingin Around, the Bayern Kurve, Kangaroo, Roll-o-Plane, and the last surviving Harry Traver Auto Racer. All were great rides and a dirty shame that these do not exist at alot of over parks.

Along with the classic flat rides we also hit the new Aero 360, a fast thrilling spin ride that gives you a great view of the park, up-side down. The Log Jammer ride was quickly a favorite flume with the fast drop and turns, and the Old Mill was a great place to relax from a long day's riding.

With all these attractions old and new, it is no wonder that Kennywood truly is a family favorite. After riding their great collection of coasters it made me realize that it doesn't have to be the tallest, fastest, steepest, roller coaster in the world for it to be the best. It also makes you wish that the amusement parks that put stapling lapbars, view-impeding headrests, and unnecessary seatbelts on classic wooden coasters, would go back to that classic feel that the ride once had.

Kennywood had more than it's fair share of magic. From the laughing guests, to the great food, to the thrilling classic rides, I will not be able to look at amusement parks the same way again. Thank you Kennywood for making may 16th, 2002 a day that I will never forget!

Proud to be Arrow DYNAMIC!

Nice report. Glad to see another happy person who "gets" Kennywood.

"Are you justified in taking life to save life?" -- The Great Debate, Dream Theater
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I have to agree, I too was amazed by Kennywood. I kept wondering "Why didn't we go here sooner??" Kennywood had such an awesome, traditional park atmosphere, compared to the bigger Six Flags, Paramount, and Cedar Fair chain parks, where there seems to be so much emphasis on business. The entire time I was there, I never once found myself wishing they had a newer rides, or more coasters. I've also never had so much fun on flat rides before. It's a pity that more parks couldn't have preserved such valuable pieces of history like Kennywood did.

My only complaint is regarding Phantom's Revenge: they were running 1 train, and as we stood in line for 40 minutes we timed their intervals, which sometimes came close to 4 minutes. It's such a shame that they couldn't run two trains on there. Sadly, we only got a few rides on Phantom's Revenge because we didn't want to spend the majority of the day waiting in line, even if it was an awesome coaster.

I really can't wait to go back to Kennywood again, because although I love my home park, Cedar Point, and it has been dubbed "the best amusement park in the world", it just doesn't have the charm or historic feeling that Kennywood does.

Proud to be Arrow DYNAMIC!

I didn't post a TR, but I was also at Kennywood on their opening day and had a great time. That park is great in its own smaller sort of way. Phantom's Revenge rocks! I do agree it would be nice if they could get the second train going. They also have an amazing variety of rare flat rides and wooden coasters which all run really well. Also, everyone seemed very friendly, but the things I liked the most was the parking price and the food prices. You can't beat free parking and for $4.50, I got buffalo chicken strips and fries. That isn't what I'd call cheap, but it wasn't as rediculous as most parks and if they threw in a drink it'd be right in line with Burger King or McDonalds!

I don't think I'd go as far as saying I like it better than my favorite park CP, or even HP or BGW, but I liked it in a very different, charming, smaller type of way.

2001 Magnum Crew

*** This post was edited by MDOmnis on 5/17/2002. ***

When I went to Cedar Point last July and came back to Kennywood in mid-Augest it was like home, more of a relaxing place;) Myself I've been to other Amusement Parks and say Kennywood is #1!!!! Maybe they don't have all the big coasters like Cedar Point has and other parks, but what Kennywood has is the Old Classics that no other park has which makes Kennywood different! Kennywood being creative thinking of it's hometown Pittsburgh! Kennywood #6 thrill park is inching it's way up!


joe.'s avatar
I was also amazed at the greatness of Kennywood. That is one park I will go to at least once a year. :)

Hey man. Wanna buy some weed? Crack? Freepass on Millennium Force? I got the hook up...

Gregleg said, "Nice report. Glad to see another happy person who "gets" Kennywood."

Robobud took my words right from my mouth from two years ago. Now, I head back every Labor Day. What a great Theme Park experience. Great report!! Gregleg has a unique view....."getting Kennywood" is almost like it soaks into your skin and never let's go....almost religious-like. My assistant coach, a Pittsburgh native, and I talk about it at least twice a week, he's still upset over the lost of Steel Phantom, but continues to make the trip every year.

There's nothing like a woodie...

I grew up near Pittsburgh, and never realized how wonderfully unique the 'Wood was until I left home and started comparing. Thank you for the great report!
Jeff's avatar

Another satisfied customer. That's why I try to get there at least once every year. Good times!

Jeff - Webmaster/Admin -,
"As far as I can tell it doesn't matter who you are. If you can believe, there's something worth fighting for..." - Garbage, "Parade"

I went to Kennywood last summer, and all I can say is WOW!!! The park has a great setting and Phantom's Revenge is one of my favorite coasters. Their wooden coasters are top notch. Can't wait to get there again some time in the near future.

“If you give a enthusiast a footer.......He’ll want a coaster!!!"

awesome TR glad you had fun:) im headin to Kennywood on that hopeful Ohio sweep in July....still gotta get some dates to you and kicksthesky!! lata :)

"hi, my name is Tim, and im a coasterholic"...."Hi Tim!!" hehe:)

Thanks for the wonderful trip report. I am looking to go to a park sometime in October and KW would be nice. Thanks!
Its great to see so much Kennywood love. Ive been going to Kennywood since I was too young to remember. The coasters are great, the atmosphere is unmatched, and the price is right. You can really appreciate the price and quality of thier food after visiting Cedar Point, a park which has been voted to have the best food. What a joke. Overpriced, and not very good. Kennywood owns all other parks ive ever been to in this department. As much as I love kennywood, I do have a few minor complaints. First off, why do they never run 2 trains on the Phantom? They had those fin breaks installed last year for the sole purpose of being able to run 2 trains, yet they never do it seems. It boggles my mind. Also, the ride ops could be better. Many seem dull and unhappy to be there. Cedar Point owns in this department. Otherwise, Kennywood is a true gem of a park.

The Millenium Force ride Ops: Squishing you where it counts since 2000.
Track Record: 62 coasters at 17 parks.

Glad someone else agree's with me about the chicken strips and french fries. I have an order every time I go there. I had cedarpoint's one and didn't like it that much. The fries tasted like mickey d's and I don't think it was worth paying $9.00 for.

I'm the youngest of the group of Summore, Holla at ya boy!

Kennywood sucks in another two!! I love this place, ive been going there every year since i can really remember. I go every year for the annual picnic for the neighborhood my grandma lives in (N. belle vernon) and i always find something new to love there.


FYI, GOCC is holding an event at Kennywood on Sept 6th. There is ride time scheduled on Phantom's Revenge and possibly one other coaster in the morning with a picnic meal included. Check out their website for details. its open to all enthusiasts.

Wood - anything else is an imitation

How about this for value...the 4 of us stayed at the Days Inn in Monroeville for 2 nights and received 4 all you can ride passes to KW, all for $169!!

KW was a very nice contrast to CP, which we visited on the same trip. An excellent combination of mostly old and some could have been the '50's all over again!!

Only downside is Pittsburg is tough to navigate if you don't know the area.

PittFall has to be the scariest drop ride on the planet...because of the topography in the area you feel like you are a mile high when you are up there...especially if you are on the side facing the river...

"How was your ride?"

This seems to have been resurrected, and it kinda goes along with my first ever coaster trip outside of California. Since I'm far too lazy (read: exhuasted from 3,600 miles of driving over 9 days) to write a full TR just yet, I'll post some more here.

Was supposed to go to SFNE, Knoebel's, Kennywood, CP, SFWoA, PKI, and HW. Ended up going to SFNE, Kennywood, and HW. SFNE served its purpose...after a torturous 3 1/2 hour wait (on a Monday afternoon?!?), I got my one and only ride on S:ROS, and finally understood why everyone tells me that Goliath is ass.

Kennywood impressed like no other park ever has, and I'm almost afraid it hurt Holiday World's chance to impress. I'd never been to anything like it. I kept thinking, especially on Thunderbolt and Jackrabbit, how all my home parks would be so terrified of lawsuits that rides like this couldn't exist. All around me was that latent fear that this park would live in cowering fear of injury lawyers, pressing me on to experience these rides before some shyster finally got his dirty paws all over this place.

I don't think I've ever had this much fun at a park in my life, never food of this caliber, and to that point, never once left a park without a single complaint. I honestly did not expect the great time that I had, and in the words of a non-enthusiast friend of mine in Pittsburgh, "You cannot possibly not have a good time at Kennywood."

Beyond that Holiday World was fantastic as well, but after Kennywood, the shock of such a great park was lessened. Still, again, absolutely no complaints, and I had a great time. One day I'll make it back to Ohio to hit those major chain themeparks, but if I do, Kennywood and Holiday World will have to be mandatory side-trips.

How I wish one of those parks could exist in southern California.

I totally agree, Pitt fall is the best drop ride ever made. Its not the tallest(250 feet I believe), and its not the fastest, but its the most adrenilene pumping funnest. For the best view I recomment the river side also, but really you cant go wrong with any side. On a clear night, if your facing the right direction, you can see the lights of Pittsburgh, way off in the distance...

The Millenium Force ride Ops: Squishing you where it counts since 2000.
Track Record: 62 coasters at 17 parks.

kpjb's avatar
If you're standing on the roof, you can see the buildings downtown, too! ;)

Come on, fhqwgads

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